Some Unemployment Benefits May Not Be Taxed for 2020
Let me start with a disclosure...I am not a tax professional...seek professional advice for your situation.
Here we go…the new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill has passed in the house and senate. The next step is the bill is sent along to President Biden to sign. There is one thing in there I had not heard about until yesterday…some unemployment benefits will be tax-free.
Like ALL things like this, there is a lot to unpack in this bill. According to CNN three of the big changes are the lowering of the income levels for those who can get the $1,400 stimulus check, the $15 an hour minimum wage was pulled out, and interesting changes for those who have received unemployment last year.
I first heard about this change for those who received unemployment benefits from a friend who has a tax preparer who is now looking at having to amend a number of her client's tax returns because now the first $10,200 of unemployment benefit are tax-free if your household makes less than $150,000.
From what I understand from friends who did receive unemployment last year there was an option to have taxes withheld to help offset the tax burden they would face because of payments. But now the first $10,200 will not be taxed.
I did some more reading on this and while it sounds good for those folks who did receive these benefits it comes with some issues...like it is the middle of tax season. We are now into March and this is a hard time to change up how we are doing the tax thing. Many people have already filed. The IRS is not currently set up for this and will have to shift, modify and adapt and do it quickly.
I AM NOT A TAX PROFESSIONAL...just a taxpayer...seek professional advice for yourself if need be. If you did get unemployment benefits this year and you have filed your taxes you need to know about this so you can amend or do whatever the IRS decides is the best way to address this. If you did get unemployment benefits this year and you have not filed, you might want to consider holding off a little while and let this shake out and see what they want you to do, after all, we have until April 15th to file....but again....you do you. If you have a tax professional you use, check in with them and I am sure once they have some answers, the IRS.gov website will post some information as well.
BUT…wait there is another issue. What about the state taxes? Well, from what I understand states were waiting to see what came out from the federal level. So again, I am not sure. I don’t think the states are sure.
What I want you to take away from this is awareness. If you did receive unemployment benefits in 2020, once this is signed there will be some changes. Depending on if you have filed already or not will determine your course of action you may need to take.